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Middle School kids winning a robotics competition
Jana Hoglund

This year marked the fifth year of Robotics Team programs at Grand Rapids Christian Schools; fourth through sixth graders participated in FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and seventh grade through high school students competed in VEX Robotics Competitions. These programs provide a sport-like competition environment where kids develop important skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  

This year, the FLL team “the Flying Peanut Butter JELLO Cheetahs” researched the problems associated with polluted water, proposed a solution to this real-world problem and designed and built an autonomous LEGO robot for the timed competition. The team won first place for Research Quality and sixth place overall. These honors earned them a spot in the State Tournament, where they placed second in Teamwork!

The VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) allows older students to focus on the mechanical, electrical and coding pieces of robotics, and Grand Rapids Christian brought home a few VEX awards this year as well. Our top ranking Grand Rapids Christian VEX team “Scrap Metal” took first place in the skills division at the West MI Regional VEX Tournament, participated in the State tournament and ended the season ranked 68th in the world for skills (over 11,000 Middle School and High School teams participated in VEX globally)! This is an amazing accomplishment.

The current workforce demands greater proficiency in STEM skills and robotics team competitions offer a fun environment for kids to develop these technical skills at an early age while also navigating the challenges that come with working as a team. Grand Rapids Christian students learn valuable life skills while enjoying the competition offered by this technical “sport.” We are thankful for our parent and assistant volunteer coaches and very proud of our students! Great job, kids!